Artichokes (California’s Official Vegetable) Would be Heavily Damaged Without Insecticides

Artichoke Plume Moth Damage

Artichoke Plume Moth Damage

Artichoke Plume Moth Larvae

Artichoke Plume Moth Larvae

In 2013, artichokes were proclaimed to be California’s official vegetable.99.99% of all commercially-grown artichokes are grown in California. The artichoke is a member of the thistle family and was introduced into California in the mid-1800s where it was met by a native insect that had been feeding on wild thistle plants. The insect quickly adapted and began feeding on artichokes and has become known as the artichoke plume moth. Losses result when they feed on artichoke buds and make them unmarketable due to tunneling in the leaves, borings inside the heads, and a blackening of the heads resulting from feeding and frass exudation. Before the introduction of chemical insecticides in the early 1950s, 50-70% of California’s artichokes were unmarketable because of the moth damage.

“Artichoke plume moth (APM), Platyptilia carduidactyla (riley) (Lepidoptera: Pterophoridae) is the most serious and persistent pest of artichokes in California. If unchecked, 70% of the artichoke buds are rendered unmarketable from worm damage. Insecticides are the most important and sole means currently used for the management of this pest.”

Author: Bari, M. A.
Affiliation: Artichoke Research Association.
Title: A potential alternative in the control of artichoke plume moth.
Source: CAPCA Advisor. 2007. October. Pgs. 58-60.

Nematicide Applications Could Increase Food Production in Africa


Nematodes are invertebrate roundworms that are second only to insects in the number of species in the animal kingdom. One cubic foot of soil may contain millions of individual nematodes. Nematodes feed on plant roots. Damage and low yields caused by nematodes frequently go unrecognized or are attributed to other causes. Research in Africa has demonstrated that controlling plant-parasitic nematodes can increase crop yields dramatically.

“Sweet pepper, the second most important vegetable crop in Niger, after onions is grown all over the country, but the region of Diffa alone accounts for over 85% of national production. The area planted in 2008 exceeds 7000 ha with a production estimated at 120000 t.

The production is mainly exported to Nigeria and procures substantial income to the people of the region of Diffa.

The average fruit yield of the crop is about 17 t/ha. This is very low compared to the potential of the crop. This low yield is partly due to diseases and pests pressure, namely the damage caused by plant-parasitic nematodes. …Yield losses caused by these nematodes can reach up to 60% in heavily infested sandy soils.

The study assessed the effectiveness of Savanem 20 EC (Ethoprophos, 200g/l), a newly introduced nematicide on the plant-parasitic nematodes associated with sweet pepper.

Savanem increased the average yield by 37.1% and Furadan by 20.6%.

Savanem 20 EC, at the dose of 50 L/ha is effective against the community of parasitic nematodes on sweet pepper.”

Authors: Adamou, H., et al.
Affiliation: Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique du Niger (INRAN)
Title: On-farm testing of savanem 20 EC (ethoprophos) for control of plant parasitic nematodes associated with pepper (Capsicum annuum) in tillaberi (Niger).
Source: Asian Journal of Agricultural Sciences. 2013. 5[4]:83-87.

Nobody Wants an Orange with a Worm Inside

Med Fly

Med Fly

Medfly females lay their eggs inside many different fruit and vegetable crops, including oranges. When the eggs hatch, small Medfly worms begin eating inside the fruit. In order to keep Spain’s oranges free from these worms, growers have to spray.

“The Mediterranean fruit fly is one of the most destructive pests of fruit in the world, attacking >250 species of fruits and vegetables. In Spain, this fly is considered one of the most economically damaging pests of citrus orchards. Direct losses result from the oviposition in fruits, larval activity, and eventual infection by fungi. In addition, quarantine measures are required for exportation to fly-free areas.”

(2)”The Mediterranean fruit fly is one of the most serious pests affecting cultivated plants in the world… Its life strategy includes changes of host species throughout the year, because larvae develop inside fruits only when they are mature.
Eastern Spain has a heterogeneous fruit growing area which extends all along the coast of Iberian Peninsula, from north to south… The most important damage to citrus fruits is produced between September and November, when satsuma and clementine mandarins reach maturity and suffer heavy attacks. Traditional control methods for reducing medfly populations and damage in citrus groves rely on the use of chemical sprays applied to fruits near harvest.”

Authors: C. Magaña, P. Hernández-Crespo, F. Ortego and P. Castañera
Affiliation: Departamento de Biología de Plantas, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, CSIC, Madrid, Spain
Title: Resistance to malathion in field populations of Ceratitis capitata.
Publication: Journal of Economic Entomology. 2007. 100(6):1836-1843.

Authors: Martinez-Ferrer M.T., et al.
Affiliation: IRTA Amposta. Ctra. de Balada, km. 1. 43870 Amposta (Tarragona). Spain.
Title: Seasonal and annual trends in field populations of Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata, in Mediterranean citrus groves: comparison of two geographic areas in eastern Spain.
Publication: Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research. 2010. 8(3):757-765.

National Academy of Sciences Credits Pesticides with Improving American Diet

Americans take for granted a plentiful, inexpensive daily supply of fruit and vegetables. This bounty has come about due to increased production throughout the county as a result of pesticide use – a point made by the National Academy of Science…

“Pesticides are used widely in agriculture in the United States. When effectively applied, pesticides can kill or control pests, including weeds, insects, fungi, bacteria, and rodents. Chemical pest control has contributed to dramatic increases in yields for most major fruit and vegetable crops. Its use has led to substantial improvements over the past 40 years in the quantity and variety of the U.S. diet and thus in the health of the public.

Authors: National Research Council
Affiliation: National Academy of Sciences
Publication: Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children. 1993. National Academy Press, Washington, DC.